The first exchange of contracts using the sellers pack has taken place in a pilot scheme in Bristol, following the launch of the Government initiative to speed up the home buying and selling process in October last year.
The exchange took place four and half weeks after acceptance of the offer – almost half the national average of eight weeks.
David Lock MP, Parliamentary Secretary at the Lord Chancellor’s Department, said that the early results of the pilot scheme were encouraging, having met the buyer and the seller of the property in Westbury Park, Bristol.
He said: “It is hoped that this will be the first of many transactions using a system that will make homebuying and selling a quicker, easier and cheaper process for all concerned.”
The pilot scheme was launched to research the effectiveness of the proposed sellers pack and had aimed to recruit 250 volunteers to test the initiative. Despite the Government’s offer to foot the bill, together with an ongoing recruitment campaign in local newspapers and radio, only 90 homeowners have signed up.
Deryck Highet, regional business director for the South West at Bradford & Bingley, said that the low take-up may be attributed to the length of time taken to prepare the report, which can take up to two weeks.
“There is certainly a reluctance on the part of the client due to the delay it creates in marketing the property actively.”
As a result, while the packs may reduce the length of time between acceptance of an offer and the exchange of contracts, the actual time saving between putting the sale sign up and exchanging contracts is questionable.
Highet added that potential sellers may be deterred when cost becomes an issue.
“In almost every area of the UK we are not seeing the levels of instructions we would like. If we place further obstacles in the way of sellers this will worsen.”